WHAT exactly did Rodrigo Duterte bring to the table that he actually clicked with a set of voters, enough to make noise in the pre election registration period?
It’s executive action – the whole idea that the top executive of a locality or territory actually enforced order in the community, no matter what. In today’s range of action between sheer lack of political will and political correctness, Duterte has become some sort of a myth. Stories about of his no holds barred governance that even the supposed high and mighty have no place in his town.
These stories include the ban on fireworks even during the traditional New Year eve merrymaking, a smoking ban which he has accosted a judge and a military official and even had a foreign visitor eat the stub, strict enforcement of speed limits and the like. And mythology or not, the legendary liquidations of the most notorious criminal elements.
It seems that the national peace and order, crime and overall safety has gotten so bad that the theme song has shifted to Bonnie Tyler’s I Need A Hero from Tina Turner’s Thunderdome hit We Don’t Need Another Hero. (Which, by the way, Nora Aunor made into the Ferdinand Marcos’ Snap Presidential Election campaign in 1985.)
So the question now is: who among the presidential aspirants will the orphaned Duterte voters turn to with their hero opting out? Mar Roxas seems to be out of the picture, since Duterte himself has vowed to campaign against him. Besides, he has had a track record of analysis-paralysis – analyzing the life out of everything that comes before him that at best decisions are made basically after the situation gas resolved itself… or the horse has died.
Jejomar Binay may be a close one, after all he has run the well known “Republic of Makati” apart from the clutches of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), especially in the auto number coding scheme, and was among the first that actually imposed to no-smoking ban in commercial establishments and public buildings. Of course, the massive corruption issues against him trumps any gains he had made, especially since benefits like seniors’ birthday cakes and kasal-binyag-libing are among the main sources of this alleged corruption, shared and perpetuated, of course, by his dynasty.
Grace Poe’s executive experience is admittedly limited, especially in the field of public governance. But as any experienced political hand will tell you, nobody runs for president with presidential experience. So voters will have to rely on her private sector executive experience as well as her management of the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) which ran smoothly and even charged Willie Revillame with child abuse under her chairmanship. Plus running high value committee hearings including the SAF 44 killings as Senator.
But going back to the Duterte factor, executive action is actually far greater than the parochial concerns of enforcing smoking bans and traffic laws. It involves decisions that literally affect the greatest numbers and can move citizens and resources for the greatest good. Take, for example, the issue of constitutional change. Fidel Ramos sought to ensure the gains of his administration by extending his six year term as president. Of course, the mother of the 1987 Constitution – his predecessor Cory Aquino – would have none of that so opposed it to the heavens.
Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s administration sough its own brand of constitutional change with the specific direction that it was only limited to reforming the Judiciary and the Economic Provisions. Estrada’s campaign against the obstructionist Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) by what he called “Hoodlums in Robes” did not see the light of day, so with the charter changes for economic provisions which was spearheaded by – believe it or not, Mar Roxas as DTI Secretary – simply because the legislature’s politicians wanted to be able to have their go on everything, especially when it came to political provisions that could expend their own terms.
The following administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had a novel approach to constitutional change. Aside from stressing the changes limited to economic and judicial provisions, she created and funded a constitutional commission made up of some of the best and brightest minds from various sectors to craft the proposed changes. At the same time she a massive information and education campaign for this need for constitutional reform. And it would have worked; except for some smart person she tasked to supervise the commission’s process insisted that the president’s term limit be lifted. It was GMA’s wish, this person insisted, to which the commission responded by voting to junk the whole thing altogether.
So, which of the presidential aspirants willing to take on this matter of constitutional reform, without selfish interest and with the creativity, fervor a single-minded determination to beat politicians into place?
If this can be answered – and done – everything else should be a cinch.